Maybe It’s Not Just the Ragweed

January 5, 2018

Late summer to fall is ragweed season (other weeds, too). You may think of it as hayfever season, but some of your fall allergies may be due to something other than weeds.

Our patients are given information about concomitant foods. “A concomitant food is one that provokes a reaction in a susceptible individual when another allergen, such as a pollen, is present. This means that you can be more reactive or more symptomatic following the ingestion of specific foods during certain pollinating seasons.” Foods concomitant with ragweed are egg, milk, mint, melon and banana. You may have no problem with these foods in the spring, early summer or winter, but when ragweed is pollinating, they may cause allergy symptoms. Foods proven concomitant with other weeds are potato, tomato, pork, black pepper, wheat and tea. So, if you have lately developed a problem eating any of these foods, weed pollen may be the real culprit, and you might want to eat less of these foods, or eliminate them from your diet for a while.

Other allergens which may cause problems in the fall are the molds, Alternaria, Homondendrum and Epicoccum, as well as Mountain Cedar pollen. Alternaria is a problem from late spring to fall, especially between noon and 3:00 PM. Epicoccum spore counts rise in the fall when Mountain Cedar pollinates (November – February). Mountain Cedar pollen is carried from the West on the jet stream, and some scientists think the Epicoccum spores hitch a ride on the pollen. Another mold which seems to be a problem in the fall is Hormodendrum. Its spore counts are high from midsummer to December.

If you don’t think you have allergies because you don’t have typical hayfever symptoms, think again. Those sudden food problems may be seasonal because of concomitant foods. Molds, which can provoke some strange symptoms, can also be a problem in the fall. Most trees pollinate in the spring, but Mountain Cedar pollinates in the fall and winter, and its pollen can provoke joint and muscle pain.

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